LONDON, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Another 348 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Thursday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 33,998, the Department of Health and Social Care said Friday.
The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.
As of Friday morning, 236,711 have tested positive for the virus, said the department.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced Friday that over a quarter of care home residents' deaths in England and Wales involved COVID-19 since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Data showed that among 45,899 deaths of care home residents in England and Wales from March 2 to May 1, 12,526 involved COVID-19, representing 27.3 percent of all deaths.
Chairing the Downing Street daily press briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told reporters that the number of new COVID-19 cases in care homes is coming down.
He said every resident and staff member in care homes will have been tested by early June, and the National Health Service (NHS) was strengthening support to the social care sector with a named clinical lead for every care home in England.
This is the most intense support and scrutiny that care homes have ever received, he noted.
He said he thought relatives of people in care homes should be told by the homes how many infections and COVID-related deaths there have been there.
Meanwhile, the ONS figures showed that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in male care home residents in the period, covering 30.3 percent of deaths. While, it was the second leading cause of death in female care home residents, after Dementia and Alzheimer disease, accounting for 23.5 percent of mortalities.
There was are a higher proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 among male care home residents than females across all age groups, said the ONS.
In terms of the proportion by age group, the highest section of deaths involving COVID-19 was the 65 to 69 years old group in both male and female care home residents, occupying 35.1 percent and 30.3 percent respectively, said the ONS.